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Santos Tiago, Walk Simon, Kern Roman, Strohmaier M., Helic Denis

Activity in Questions & Answers Websites

ACM Transactions on Social Computing, 2018

Millions of users on the Internet discuss a variety of topics on Question and Answer (Q&A) instances. However, not all instances and topics receive the same amount of attention, as some thrive and achieve self-sustaining levels of activity while others fail to attract users and either never grow beyond being a small niche community or become inactive. Hence, it is imperative to not only better understand but also to distill deciding factors and rules that define and govern sustainable Q&A instances. We aim to empower community managers with quantitative methods for them to better understand, control and foster their communities, and thus contribute to making the Web a more efficient place to exchange information. To that end, we extract, model and cluster user activity-based time series from 50 randomly selected Q&A instances from the StackExchange network to characterize user behavior. We find four distinct types of user activity temporal patterns, which vary primarily according to the users' activity frequency. Finally, by breaking down total activity in our 50 Q&A instances by the previously identified user activity profiles, we classify those 50 Q&A instances into three different activity profiles. Our categorization of Q&A instances aligns with the stage of development and maturity of the underlying communities, which can potentially help operators of such instances not only to quantitatively assess status and progress, but also allow them to optimize community building efforts

Hasani-Mavriqi Ilire, Kowald Dominik, Helic Denis, Lex Elisabeth

Consensus Dynamics in Online Collaboration Systems

Journal of Computational Social Networks , Ding-Zhu Du and My T. Thai, Springer Open, 2018

In this paper, we study the process of opinion dynamics and consensus building inonline collaboration systems, in which users interact with each other followingtheir common interests and their social pro les. Speci cally, we are interested inhow users similarity and their social status in the community, as well as theinterplay of those two factors inuence the process of consensus dynamics. Forour study, we simulate the di usion of opinions in collaboration systems using thewell-known Naming Game model, which we extend by incorporating aninteraction mechanism based on user similarity and user social status. Weconduct our experiments on collaborative datasets extracted from the Web. Our ndings reveal that when users are guided by their similarity to other users, theprocess of consensus building in online collaboration systems is delayed. Asuitable increase of inuence of user social status on their actions can in turnfacilitate this process. In summary, our results suggest that achieving an optimalconsensus building process in collaboration systems requires an appropriatebalance between those two factors.

Santos Tiago, Walk Simon, Kern Roman, Helic Denis

Evolution of Collaborative Web Communities

ACM Hypertext 2018, 2018

Each day, millions of users visit collaborative Web communities, such as Wikipedia or StackExchange, either as large knowledge repositories or as up-to-date news sources.However, not all of Web communities are as successful as Wikipedia and, except for a few initial research results, our research community still knows only a little about what separates a successful from an unsuccessful community.Thus, we still need to (i) gain a better understanding of the underlying community evolution dynamics, and (ii) based on this understanding support activity and growth on such platforms.To that end, we distill temporal dynamics of community activity and thereby identify key factors leading to success or failure of communities.In particular, we study the differences between growing and declining communities by leveraging multivariate Hawkes processes. Furthermore, we compare communities hosted on different platforms such as StackExchange and Reddit, as well as topically diverse communities such as STEM and humanities.We find that all growing communities exhibit (i) an active core of power users reacting to the community as a whole, and (ii) numerous casual users strongly interacting with other casual users suggesting community openness towards less active users.Moreover, our results suggest that communities in the humanities are centered around power users, whereas in STEM communities activity is more evenly distributed among power and casual users.These results are of practical importance for community managers to quantitatively assess the status of their communities and guide them towards thriving community structures
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